It is expected that before the end of this year the International Court of Justice will hand down a decision with regard to Japanese whaling in the Arctic Ocean. Of course, we will have to accept whatever decision the judges may reach, but I hope that decision will not be influenced by feelings rather than facts.

I have several close friends in Australia and we have discussed the question of whether whaling is really a barbarous business and whether it is a suitable scientific project for the study of marine resources and their conservation. We have been unable to agree.

During our discussions, I came to see that the real reason for their opposition to Japanese whaling might be emotional: that Japanese ships are conducting the whaling near the coast of Australia as if it were Japan’s own back yard.

Japan is not guilty of any illegal behavior, since the Arctic Ocean is international waters and outside Australian territory, while Japanese fishing boats catch only the number of whales approved by the International Whaling Commission.

It seems, therefore, that since Australia might not have a reason to oppose Japanese whaling publicly, it will try to do so by charging the Japanese government with whaling for a commercial, rather than a scientific, purpose.

I hope that, although most of the judges who sit on the ICJ represent Western countries, they will come to an objective conclusion unbiased by emotional pre-judgments.

hiroshi kobayashi

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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